There are plenty of places you can enjoy great Seattle original coffee—where the beans are sourced from sustainably run farms with fair trade practices and roasted right here in the city. Here are some of our favorites.
The blocks around Westlake Park can feel like a special type of hell as you navigate between tweakers begging for money and people from Marysville doing the Suburbanite Shuffle (walking from Old Navy to the Cheesecake Factory to Gameworks). But nearly hidden in a set back office tower is the coffee oasis that is Anchorhead. Everything is tasty here. The lattes are as good as anywhere in Seattle. The espresso is excellent, especially on the house's Leviathan Blend. And at the center of Anchorhead's bar sits the Poursteady, a $12,500 pour-over coffee robot that perfectly executes your next single origin, natural washed roast. LESTER BLACK
Idaho-transplant-turned-Seattleite Barry Faught left his lucrative corporate job to open Broadcast, named in honor of his dad, Bill Bailey, a beloved Boise area broadcaster. Nearly 11 years later, there are now three locations, including the roasting studio and cafe that opened in 2017 on Jackson and 25th. The inside of all three feels clean, bright, and modern while still coming off as warm and welcoming. And the coffee speaks for itself—their beans are roasted in small batches and have become popular enough to be sold wholesale, the flavor rich and indulgent like a dark-chocolate truffle by Godiva. Broadcast also regularly hosts pop-ups featuring local pastry makers, like Comadre Panaderia, Mariela Camacho's Mexican bakery pop-up of pan dulce treats, Christina Wood's sourdough Temple Pastries, and the gluten-free, organic, and plant-based offerings of Wink Doughnuts. Broadcast brews can also be found at Ghost Note Coffee on Capitol Hill. LEILANI POLK
Italians don't drink coffee sitting down. They drink their shot of espresso while standing at a local cafe counter, exchanging gossip for 5 or 10 minutes before carrying on about their day. So the long counter at Caffe Umbria's Pioneer Square shop is the first clue that they are following the Italian tradition. The second clue is the expertly extracted espresso and their syrupy-sweet dark roasted beans. Try their Gusto Crema roast, a delightfully saccharine mix of chocolate and dried fruit, no sugar required. LESTER BLACK
Mike McConnell has managed to do the seemingly impossible with Caffe Vita: He's expanded his Seattle coffee shop to be a national-level chain without simultaneously devolving it into corporate garbage. Vita has coffee shops in Los Angeles and Brooklyn, yet the Capitol Hill headquarters is still a dark den of artists and writers drinking coffee inside and smoking cigarettes at the small cafe tables outside. The Pike Street location serves Vita's award-winning brews till 11 p.m., making it one of the city's few coffee shops that are open late. LESTER BLACK
You could drive by Conduit Coffee a hundred times without noticing its existence amid that thin stretch of industrial buildings along Westlake Avenue near the Fremont Bridge. Inside, a small team of Seattle coffee veterans roasts batches of beans for their expertly crafted coffee, like the nutty, lightly roasted yet full-bodied Locofocos Espresso blend. The roastery is open to the public only on Tuesdays during their weekly open house, when you can get free shots of espresso pulled from their Mavam espresso machine, test your coffee knowledge during free cuppings and demonstrations, and get a chance to meet the roaster and buy a few bags of beans. LESTER BLACK
Elm Coffee Roasters has quickly established itself as one of the city's best purveyors of delicately roasted beans since they opened their Pioneer Square shop in 2013. Try their Ethiopia Tabe Burka, a roast that's full of subtle fruit notes like lime and pineapple, or enjoy the dark chocolate notes of their Colombia Maria del Rosario. Both of Elm's cafes are elegantly designed with lots of natural light and stylish understated notes, and you'll likely find earnest conversations between architects and interior designers happening inside. LESTER BLACK
Espresso Vivace and its founder, David Schomer, changed the way Americans drink espresso. Schomer opened Vivace in 1988 and then published a coffee manifesto in 1995, Espresso Coffee: Professional Techniques, that introduced the world to a range of coffee styles and skills, including the practice of latte art. Have you seen baristas putting flowery swirls and heart shapes into your latte? Schomer is the reason this practice has become standard for baristas across the country. His book has been translated into four languages and is now in its fourth printing. And the espresso at Vivace is as good as ever. LESTER BLACK
Coffee snobs tell me I'm supposed to like "bright" flavors in my espresso, but when I'm buying fancy coffee, I prefer the nutty, chocolaty notes offered by Herkimer coffees. I especially like a cold brew made from the drip blend. Something about the slow cold-brewing process pulls out the hazelnut punch of the roasted beans. Plus, the places on Capitol Hill that serve Herkimer—Analog Coffee and Porchlight Coffee—happen to be coolest cafes in the neighborhood. RICH SMITH
The Fremont-area corner cafe that houses Lighthouse Roasters is cozy and functional—giant bags of beans are stacked in the back near the vintage cast-iron roaster where the beans are hand-roasted daily in view of cafe patrons, who drop in for drip coffee and lattes made with Lighthouse's creamy milk-chocolaty blend. It's the sort of coffee that serves as the perfect introduction to Seattle brews for the uninitiated (i.e., your parents who are visiting from Florida). The only downside: There's no wi-fi, which discourages lingering for anything other than coffee enjoyment. For a comfortable working atmosphere, try Eastern Cafe in the International District or Cafe Pettirosso on Capitol Hill, both of which serve Lighthouse brews. LEILANI POLK
The coffee served out of this math-inspired micro-roaster cafe is robust with nutty, caramel, and cocoa notes, and the name comes from the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum," which translates to "what was to be shown," a technical notation at the end of math proofs. It's clear that Matt Greenfield's one-time side venture is making itself shown. After just four years of operating, the original Mount Baker brick-and-mortar location (worth visiting just so you can drink your cup while enjoying the stunning view from Mount Baker Ridge viewpoint across the street) now has a sister shop a few blocks from Seattle Center. On a side note, it's one of the few places you get four espresso shots in a 16-ounce latte—as it should be. LEILANI POLK
One of the only active coffee roasters in downtown, Seattle Coffee Works roasts expressive and ethically sourced coffees inside their cafe just steps away from Pike Place Market. Coffee Works is serious about coffee ethics—their yearly "authenticity report" tracks their direct purchasing relationships with their coffee growers and they provide health care and benefits to their employees. The four Coffee Works cafes don't accept any tips, because the cost of benefits and a living wage are already built into your coffee's price. Does all of that morality make their coffee taste better? I think so. LESTER BLACK
Slate is for the flavor fiends. Do you like your coffee brutalized into dark-roasted submission of burnt flavor à la Starbucks' French Roast? Slate is not for you. This roaster and coffee shop seems to find a way to roast their beans as lightly as possible, creating coffees that show incredible nuance. Did I just taste green tea? Soy? Wood and almonds? Slate coffees invite you to think and consider each shade of flavor. Especially if you opt for one of their natural washed roasts, which they seem to be experts at creating. This young roastery has quickly spread from one location in Ballard to an empire of discerning outposts featuring cold and clean interior design in the U-District and Pioneer Square. LESTER BLACK
There are so many other places that we didn't have the space to wax poetic about but are worth mentioning: Cafe Allegro, the local coffee shop said to be the inspiration for Starbucks; Cherry Street Coffee, the omnipresent and dependable downtown coffee chain; Victrola Coffee (according to Sean Nelson, "15th Avenue became a neighborhood when Victrola opened" ; Caffe Ladro, the OG Seattle coffee chain by Jack Kelly, its name literally translating to "coffee thief,"; La Marzocco, the espresso machine showroom and cafe at KEXP's community space, supplied by rotating coffee roasters; True North, offering unique small batch in-season craft coffee; and Fonté, the only one of these roasters that has expanded to Ireland.